Adobe AIR format--questions

Subject: Adobe AIR format--questions
From: John Hedtke <john -at- hedtke -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 11:30:51 -0800

(I posted this on the HATT list, but it occurs to me that there may
be people who've downloaded Adobe AIR who live onTechwr-l, so let me
pose my questions here, too.)

I downloaded the Adobe AIR add-on and installed it and poked at it
briefly. I've got questions I'd like to loft for anyone else who's
tried it. I may not have poked at it long enough--it is a Monday
morning after all, and focusing on this has been a bit of a hassle
with the phone calls and thrill of loading FrameMaker and Acrobat on
a new machine in the background (more coffee! more coffee!)--but I
am definitely confused about the value of AIR and I wanted someone
else's opinion, please.

After playing with it, I've got the following questions:

* I got the impression that you need to install the Java Runtime on
any machine you want to run an Adobe AIR on. Is this correct? (This
seems to be fairly unpleasant and would probably stop me right there
from using this. The Java Runtime and Java VM are lovely, wonderful
programs for many things, but it's a pain in the butt to load and run
them JUST so I can run a help application.)
* Will the Linux version be made to look and feel like the rest of
the platforms? (I'm getting really tired of companies saying "Hey,
we've got a consistent look and feel... well, except for this
operating system or this suite of products or whatever... but trust
us, we're consistent!")
* Don't Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux already have viewers for CHM
files that do all of the things that AIR does?
* Doesn't the MadCap Help Viewer already do all of the things AIR does?
* Didn't the Robohelp "WebHelp" cross-platform help format already do
all of the things AIR does?

I thought commenting, breadcrumbs, and things like that were
available in RH 7 without having to use AIR. (MadCap Flare has them
as well as I recollect.) I don't have Doc-to-Help loaded so I don't
know if it's got them or not--someone who knows D2H should please weigh in.

So what's confusing me is that I can't find any value to AIR at
all. We've already got all the cross-platform capabilities we could
want with non-proprietary formats that don't require us to load a ton
of kinda messy software, so the only reason you'd want to do this is
if you felt like you had something that works but you wanted to fix
it anyway.

Anyone else who's tried this, please post your thoughts. I've
~gotta~ be missing something here.

Yours truly,

John Hedtke
Author/Consultant/Contract Writer <-- website
541-685-5000 (office landline)
541-554-2189 (cell)
john -at- hedtke -dot- com (primary email)
johnhedtke -at- aol -dot- com (secondary email)


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